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Steep rise in number of homes planned for green belt

Words: Huw Morris
Green belt

Up to 275,000 homes are now planned for England’s green belt, an increase of 50,000 on last year, according to countryside campaigners.

Research by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) into draft and adopted local plans suggests green belt boundaries are being changed to accommodate housing at the fastest rate for two decades with 11 local authorities doing so in the year to 2015.

The 275,000 homes now planned are a 25 per cent increase on 2015.

More than 117,000 homes are planned for the Metropolitan green belt around London, a 35 per cent increase on the number planned in March 2015.

The West Midlands green belt has 44,170 homes planned, a rise of 22 per cent in the past year, while in Yorkshire the figures is 46,900, a 15 per cent increase.

The CPRE said green belt policy is gradually being weakened through the “exceptional circumstances” clause in planning guidance.

Planning campaign manager Paul Miner said councils are increasingly eroding the green belt to meet “unrealistic and unsustainable housing targets”.

He added: “To build the affordable homes young people and families need, the government should empower councils to prioritise the use of brown field sites. Brownfield land is a self-renewing resource that can provide at least one million new homes.”

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